From the parking area, cross Skyline Drive. You will see a triple purple-on-white blaze on a tree, which marks the start of the Tamarack Loop. Turn right onto the gravel road that leads into Camp Tamarack, then immediately turn left and follow the purple-on-white blazes downhill on a winding footpath. At the base of the descent, turn right at a T-intersection. Just beyond, the Tamarack Loop...
From the parking area, cross Skyline Drive. You will see a triple purple-on-white blaze on a tree, which marks the start of the Tamarack Loop. Turn right onto the gravel road that leads into Camp Tamarack, then immediately turn left and follow the purple-on-white blazes downhill on a winding footpath. At the base of the descent, turn right at a T-intersection. Just beyond, the Tamarack Loop turns right, but you should continue straight ahead, now following the orange blazes of the Schuber Trail. The trail crosses a stream on a wooden bridge, climbs over a knoll and descends to cross a second stream. Just beyond, follow the orange blazes as the trail bears away from a woods road.
About half an hour into the hike, the white-blazed Millstone Trail crosses, but you should continue straight ahead, following the orange blazes. A short distance beyond, you’ll notice a cabin to the right. Here, the trail briefly turns right onto a woods road, then turns left onto another road along the shore of Lake Vreeland. Follow the orange blazes as the road begins to climb and curves to the north, passing several campsites and cabins. Camp Glen Gray, owned by Bergen County, is managed by the Friends of Glen Gray. The public is welcome to hike on the trails, and camp facilities may be rented by contacting the camp, (201) 337-7234; www.glengray.org.
The Schuber Trail passes the camp rifle range, then descends to cross North Brook on a footbridge near the Tindall Cabin. Here, the Old Guard Trail (green tulip tree leaf on white) joins briefly.
At the top of the hill, the Schuber Trail bears right, leaving the Old Guard Trail, and heads east along another woods road. After passing a swamp (Sanders Pond) to the left and old gateposts, the trail turns left and begins to climb Twin Hill. Soon, you’ll arrive at the top of the ridge, where you will see the markers for the Yellow Trail (blazed with yellow diamonds). Cross the Yellow Trail and continue ahead to a rock outcrop which offers an outstanding view over northern Bergen County, with the Manhattan skyline visible on the horizon to the right on a clear day. This is a good place to take a break.
After you’ve rested and enjoyed the view, return to the Yellow/Schuber Trail and turn right (north), following the yellow and orange blazes as they descend from the ridge. Along the way, the Old Guard Trail (green-tulip-tree-leaf-on-white blazes) leaves to the left. At the base of the descent, follow the yellow blazes as the Yellow Trail turns left on a woods road, leaving the Schuber Trail. It soon crosses a pipeline, then traverses a stream and a wet area on wooden bridges. The Yellow Trail ends at a junction with the Cannonball Trail (blazed with a white "C" on red) just beyond the Dogwood Cabin of Camp Yaw Paw.
Turn right on the Cannonball Trail, which follows the route of the historic Cannonball Road, used during the Revolutionary War to transport munitions without being intercepted by the British. You’ll pass a small lean-to to the right and then an A-frame building (used by the camp as a nature center) to the left. Just beyond the A-frame, with more lean-tos visible on the hill to the left, you will notice a triple green-on-white blaze which marks the start of the Green Trail. Turn left and follow this trail as it curves through a camp lean-to site (which may be occupied on weekends by Scout groups) and climbs to the western ridge of the Ramapo Mountains.
After about half a mile, the Green Trail ends at the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Memorial Trail. Just beyond is the Erskine Lookout, which offers a broad westward view over the Wanaque Reservoir. Here is another good spot to take a break while enjoying the view. When you’re rested, turn right and head south on the yellow-blazed trail, which you will follow all the way back to the parking area on Skyline Drive.
The southern end of the red-on-white-blazed Ringwood-Ramapo Trail may be seen to the right in about a mile, and half a mile later, the Cannonball Trail (white "C" on red) joins from the left. The two trails now follow an old woods road along the ridgeline. Soon, the joint Hoeferlin/Cannonball Trail turns left and descends from the ridge, passing a large glacial erratic to the left on the way down.
At the base of the descent, the trails cross a wide gravel road which, to the right, leads to a radio tower. About 60 feet beyond this road, the red-blazed Matapan Rock Trail crosses. Turn right and follow this trail to its end at Matapan Rock. This rock ledge, which directly overlooks Skyline Drive below, affords an expansive view to the west. After enjoying the view, retrace your steps to the Hoeferlin/Cannonball Trail and turn right, following the yellow and red-on-white blazes heading south.
In another half a mile, the trails briefly emerge onto Skyline Drive, where they cross a gas pipeline. Just beyond the pipeline, they bear left and re-enter the woods, passing around a gate and soon crossing a stream in a wet area. About 0.3 mile beyond, bear left onto the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Memorial Trail, as the Cannonball Trail proceeds ahead on the woods road. Be alert, as this turn is easy to miss.
The yellow trail now ascends steadily through mountain laurel to reach a rock outcrop, then descends very steeply. At the base of the descent, a sign points to the way to an Indian shelter, believed to have been used by Native Americans during their hunting season. A short distance ahead, the trail reaches Skyline Drive, just opposite the parking area where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 06/20/2002 updated/verified on 12/29/2008
This loop hike traverses a portion of the Schuber Trail through the Ramapo Mountains and ascends to several viewpoints, with broad vistas both east and west.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.